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Meaningful Connections in Mexico

My last day in Mexico I sat drinking coffee on our balcony. Across the road was a local neighborhood where people lived differently than the typical person in the United States. I often sat here, thinking about other ways of life. This last morning I heard people singing. Quite a few people...with instruments starting after awhile. Now, the singing wasn’t great. People were definitely off-key and I had no idea what they were saying. Yet, there was so much joy in their voices. I found myself honored to hear these people coming together in community. Singing helps us celebrate. It can uplift and unite us. Singing also reminds us how deeply we can feel as humans. Communicating - listening and speaking. There is this invisible, beautiful, and sometimes heartbreaking thread that connects humanity. And from what I've learned, we all want so many of the same things at the end of the day: to love and be loved, to be safe, to be respected and accepted for who we are, to share joy, to be heard, seen, and held.

When I travel (or even at home), I am a big people watcher. I enjoy being curious, not in a judgmental way, but in a way to understand, recognize, and honor both differences and similarities. Connection is one of my core values, and being able to learn about others helps me feel connected to them. And while I am often a silent observer, one of the most powerful ways to connect with someone is to truly listen to them.

Consider the types of listeners we encounter:

  • Approaching conversations with a self-centered focus, their minds preoccupied with formulating responses rather than truly absorbing what others share. This isn't always meant to be selfish or hurtful, however it doesn't foster strong relationships.

  • Engaging in listening, attuned to the speaker. They are present in the moment, absorbing and comprehending the message being conveyed.

  • Deep listening, seeking to grasp both the spoken and unspoken layers of communication. They immerse themselves fully, picking up on nuances in speech, body language, and energy shifts. As a result, they gain a comprehensive understanding of the person's thoughts and emotions - beyond just words.

It's in this last type of deep listening where connection grows and we feel truly heard. We crave this connection because it validates our existence. To be accepted, respected, and even revered.

Reflecting on these listening styles brings up important questions to ask yourself:

  • What enables me to truly attune to others?

  • How can I deepen connections to enhance my relationships?

  • What makes me feel heard in return?

  • When I don't fully understand, how can I remain open to what's in front of me?

Mindful listening requires us to set aside distractions and personal biases, fostering empathy and non-judgmental awareness in our interactions. Acknowledging we don't know everything, yet remaining open to what's being communicated.

While I may not have known what songs I was listening to that last morning in Mexico, I felt the energy. To be a part of this experience, even from the outside and only listening, reminded me of how we are all humans. Even when we are different from one another, it doesn’t mean we are disconnected. It makes me grateful for being in this experience called life and excited to connect with more people through truly listening and being present.

Mural Holistika Tulum Mexico

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